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First drive: Range Rover Sport

By Chris Gable, 20 Jul 2013 First Drive

Review, Range Rover, Sport, 2013, Hungary, review, price, test drive, specs

Forget hyperbole. The temptation after just driving the flagship supercharged petrol V8 version of Land Rover’s new Range Rover Sport is to switch straight to hyper-hyperbole. It’s that good.

Forget hyperbole. The temptation after just driving the flagship supercharged petrol V8 version of Land Rover’s new Range Rover Sport is to switch straight to hyper-hyperbole. It’s that good.

During a day-long drive from England’s midlands through Wales and back, the Sport proved, well, incredible in terms of the breadth of its capability (see what I mean about the hyperbole).

With 375kW, 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds, superb ride and sports-car like handling, the new Sport was awesome on some of the best roads I’ve ever driven (it’s easy to see why the place is a favourite with the likes of Car and Evo magazines). It didn’t miss a beat while bellowing like an M3, especially in Sport mode.

But, here’s where the hyper-hyperbole really kicks in: on an off-road track, parts of which would have a seasoned four-wheel-driver reaching for his snatch strap, the Range Rover Sport ate the lot. One take-a-big-gulp-first, slippery descent that demanded under-1km/h crawling pace and plenty of courage on behalf of the driver, the Sport made it all seem easy ... well, in retrospect.

Through thigh-deep water crossings – the wading depth of which was indicated on the Sport’s big central screen by an exceedingly cool graphic – it got through with aplomb. And it’s techfest of driving aids is so good, it gives you the confidence to take on just about anything you would’ve baulked it in even a hardcore dedicated four-wheel-drive.

Then, after a quick hose-down, the Sport was back on the M5 Motorway, again bellowing M3-like as the tacho swung towards redline through the first half-dozen of its eight-speed ZF auto’s gears before settling on a conservative 110 miles-per-hour (not km/h) in top at 2200rpm.

Two vehicles in one? Absolutely. A more ‘chuckable’ and responsive version of the next-rung-up, same-engined Range Rover itself? Damn straight.

The range-topping Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic we drove goes on sale in Australia on November 1 at $182,400.